New Jersey Recount Laws

This information was updated in June 2015 using the 2014 New Jersey Revised Stautes (N.J. Rev. Stat.)

Voting System Used: 

DREs without VVPAT

For more details, visit Verified Voting.

Counting Method: 

Electronic review only

For its polling place voting equipment, New Jersey uses direct-recording electronic machines (DREs) without a voter-verified paper audit trail: therefore, only an electronic review of initial returns is possible for most votes cast throughout the state. New Jersey calls this electronic reviw a "recheck" and it involves rechecking the DRE counters against the election officers' returns.  See N.J. Rev. Stat. 19:52-6.

Paper ballots (absentee ballots) are to be retabulated following the guidelines in 19:53A-8; however, the Superior Court has the ability to choose the counting method for paper ballots (used for absentee provisional and emergency ballos), including a hand recount. See 19:53A-14.  In addition, the county board of elections may do a hand count if a retabulation is "impracticable."  See 19:53A-8(d).

Initiating Mechanism: 

Candidate-initiated
Voter-initiated

Candidate-Initiated Options: 

Candidate determines how many/which precincts to recount

In any election any candidate who believes that an error has been made in the counting of the votes for that election may apply for a recount of the votes cast in any "district or districts."  Candidates apply to the Superoior Court assigned to the county in which the districts to be recounted are located.  See 19:28-1 and 28-4.

Timing:  See 19:28-1.

Voter-Initiated Options: 

Voters determine how many/which precincts to recount
Voters may request recounts for initiatives/questions

Voters who believe that an error has been made in the counting of votes upon an public question may apply to the state's Superior Court for a recount. A minimum of ten voters is required to file the request. See 19:28-1.

Timing: See 19:28-1.

Cost for Candidate-Initiated Recounts: 

Initiator pays set or per jurisdiction fee
Initiator pays deposit or bond before recount
Payer of costs depends on outcome of recount

Each application for a recount must be accompanied by a deposit for each district to be recounted. The deposit amount is set by election officials but may not exceed $25 per district. The deposit is refunded if the recount alters the result of the election or changes the outcome in any district by more than 10 votes or 10%, whichever is greater. See Section 19:28-2.

Cost for Voter-Initiated Recounts: 

Initiator pays set or per jurisdiction fee
Initiator pays deposit or bond before recount
Payer of costs depends on outcome of recount

Each application for a recount must be accompanied by a deposit for each district to be recounted. The deposit amount is set by election officials but may not exceed $25 per district. The deposit is refunded if the recount alters the result of the election or changes the outcome in any district by more than 10 votes or 10%, whichever is greater. See 19:28-2.

Challengers and Observers: 

Statutes specify that recount must be public
Party/candidate or initiator has statutory authority to appoint challengers
No statutory guidance for recount observers

All counting “shall be conducted under the observation of the public.” See 19:53A-8(b). In addition, 19:28-3 require that recounts are to be conducted publicly. 

Candidates and the chairman of the county committee of a political party have the ability to appoint two challengers who shall have "the right and power to challenge the counting or rejecting of any ballot or part of any ballot.  See 19:7-1,7-2, 7-5 and 19:53A-12. The appointment of or application for challengers needs to be filed with the county board not later than the second Tuesday preceding any election. See 19:7-3.

Rules for Determining Voter Intent: 

Statutory guidance provided

See 19:16-3.